Blue Devils get payback over Blackville-Hilda in rematch

Humbled - and yet still a little steamed by a defeat Dec. 27 at the hands of Blackville-Hilda High, the Williston-Elko High boys varsity basketball team resolved to make things right in the Jan. 21 rematch in the Hawks Nest.

In the last meeting, Williston-Elko squandered a 13-point second half lead before losing to the Hawks by a score of 50-46.

This time, however, the Blue Devils avoided complacency. Fueled by the pinpoint shooting of Quantel Mack, the Blue Devils got the best of the Hawks with a score of 52-45.

Williston-Elko, which trailed by as much as five points in the second quarter, took a 25-24 halftime lead on a jumper by Antonio Walker.

Behind the plays of Dexter Staley and Mack, the Blue Devils maintained the advantage in the second half with a 25-20 scoring edge. Staley, who had 11 boards, scored six of his eight points in the fourth quarter.

The Hawks had no answer for Mack, who torched them four three-pointers. Mack finished with 15 points, six steals and four assists.

Mack said he was happy to spark the team.

"I got into a good rhythm with my shooting. However, it was a total team effort beating Blackville-Hilda," Mack said.

With the win, Williston-Elko High improves to 9-7 in the season and 6-2 in region play.

Williston-Elko High coach Devin Liferidge said his team learned from its first meeting with Blackville-Hilda High.

"I think this was one of our better games this season primarily because our players found out what it takes to close out a game," Liferidge said. "Unlike last time, we didn't allow ourselfs to become complacent with a lead. I thought we did a good job of maintaining our poise and executing late in the game."

For Blackville-Hilda High, poor shooting hampered its chances for victory. The Hawks held a 22-20 lead with 1:39 left in the first half. From that point on Blackville-Hilda High went 10-of-32 shooting from the field.

The Hawks were also plagued by missed free throws, going only seven-of-17 from the charity stripe.

Larry Johnson was the bright spot offensively for BHHS with 13 points, seven steals and five assists.

The loss drops Blackville-Hilda to 4-4 in region play.

"We missed a lot of shots tonight, especially in the paint. That's pretty much the story of the game," Blackville-Hilda coach Michael Beasley said.

For the game, Williston-Elko High got double-double performances from Walker and Brandon Reed. Walker had 14 points and 13 rebounds. Reed countered with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

For Blackville-Hilda High, Dukes registered nine points and seven rebounds. Quentin Johnson had eight points, including two three-pointers while Freddie Glover added six points.